Is the Texas Abortion Ban Dangering Women?

On May 12, 2021, Gregg Abbot, the Governor of Texas, signed the controversial Senate Bill 8, commonly known as the Texas Abortion Ban, sparking a question: is the ban endangering constitutional rights and the health of women?

Before the Senate 8 Bill was signed into effect, Texas had a twenty week limit in giving citizens the right between abortion or parenthood. Senate Bill 8, however, affirms that if citizens pass their six week mark to terminate a pregnancy, then it will be illegal to seek abortion and the mother will be sued. There is no exception, not even for cases of sexual assault or incest. As Politico observed, many have concluded the ban to be a “private right of action,” and since then has since been criticized by health experts, activists groups, and even on political grounds.

The abortion topic has become debatable again in Congress, with many Republicans stating it’s within states’ rights decision, but state policy analysts, Elizabeth Nash from the Guttmacher Institute, has contradicted that statement to the New York Times: “These laws are unconstitutional. As we have understood Supreme rulings until now, and courts have quickly issued preliminary injunctions blocking enforcement.”

Dr. Jennifer Villavicieno is also against the ban due to health circumstances. “It is extremely possible and very common for people to get to the six week mark and not know they are pregnant,” explained Villavicieno. “Forcing them to find out about a pregnancy and make a decision about how to manage it in a short period of time is antithetical to ethical care.”

As Nash said, the position of the Supreme Court is contradictory in its stance. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Roe v. Wade case, in which they defended the right to abortion, declaring that it was constitutional at that time. Now in the recent turn of events, the Supreme Court declared that Texas has its legal right to implement the ban in a 5-4 vote, affecting approximately seven million women in Texas. Though there is an understanding that there was a large conservative faction appointed by then President Trump, it is still baffling about how a Court that supported aborting 48 years ago is now restricting it, removing 48 years of progressive rights to citizens.

Attorney General Merrick Garland of the Justic Deparment has stated that their will be protection for abortion rights through Freedom of Acces to Clinic Entraces Act (FACE), a federal law that guarantees access that offer health services, and illegalizes any type of obstruction to it, resulting in fine or imprisoment. This leaves a big debate on whether the ban is either state law or obstructing federal law.

“We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services,” Mr. Garland addressed in a statement. “The department will priovide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack.”

The Executive Director at the Preuss School, Dr. Helen Griffith, is empathetic with the protestors against the abortion ban. “I think it defines [women’s] role as second class citizens, that we’re not equal, that we don’t have the ability to make the best decisions for our own personal health, our own personal choice, and I believe it’s a step backwards in equality for women, and especially women of color,” Dr. Griffith affirmed.

Mrs. Ruth Carrillo Hernandez, one of the Senior Counselors at Preuss, stated her concern if an abortion ban is placed anywhere in the United States. “I think we should always be concerned when there’s a possibility of someone coming into office that will take away anyone’s rights,” she reported. “ I don’t think we should take that lightly…. We shall always [be] on guard that someone could take our rights.”

Equal rights have always been a question by communities, even by the younger generations. Since the foundation of the United States, the word “equality” has expanded from Men from European descent to people in the United States regardless of ethnicity and race, and still continues to expand. However, the Texas Abortion Ban returns the belief of second-class status, that not all people can have the same equality, and in this case, women are equally the same. Until the Capitol Insurrection, the United States’ reputation has been that of a progressive democracy in the belief of natural rights and has been able to overcome obstacles against all odds. Now, there’s a deep divide between liberals and conservatives, which has been affecting the lives and freedoms of the average citizen living in this country.

The Texas Abortion Ban has sparked a topic that women’s rights can be restricted and degraded by state government. This shouldn’t have been alarming, as not long before, states had implemented restricting voting rights to certain groups. The topic of the Texas abortion ban should be expanded about a topic in how government, state and federal, is now giving the authority to restrict constitutional rights and freedoms to American citizens, installing them as second class citizens.

The Texas ban has gained influence in other states who wish to implement a similar ban. Despite the arguments against this act, Texas holds firm to its new law. Outside of state versus federal government rights, the problem with the Senate 8 Bill is the effect on women, that their constitutional rights and healthcare are being violated.